Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Sam of My Medical Musings.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve lived life in the fast lane for 30 years with a successful career in financial services and in various consultancy roles for not for profit organizations. I enjoyed every minute of those able bodied years and am very grateful for the experiences I have had. My career highlights include; contributing to creating an exceptional customer experience culture in the various Banking and Insurance departments I’ve managed; leading an inspired and motivated team of people, many of whom are now life long friends; restoring an historic church building to its former glory; working as a management consultant in the Anglican Church of Australia for a short period assisting Church Leaders to bring about exciting reformative change.
In 2014, my world changed dramatically when I medically retired due to complex and debilitating health issues. Today, my disabilities prevent me from doing very little outside the home but I love to blog. My passion has always been to support people, even during my working life, so now I am a volunteer administrator of a few online Facebook forums run by a charitable Arthritis organization. I have also just set up my own Facebook support forum called “Medical Musings with Friends” for people with chronic and complex diseases to share their experiences and find support in a safe place with others who truly understand. It’s keeping me incredibly busy but it is so rewarding.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called “My Medical Musings“. The original purpose of my blog was to keep a record of all that was happening with my body but also to reach out to others who find themselves facing life-changing health events that are complex, chronic and rare. I have always had a life long goal to write a book but I’ve really fallen in love with blogging and the connections it brings plus I’ve added my Facebook Support Forum, “Medical Musings with Friends” recently, so I’ve shelved the book idea for now.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I decided to start blogging in January 2015 to reach out to others who have found themselves suddenly physically disabled and medically retired from a normal way of life. I decided that despite my health issues I can still choose to have a happy fulfilled life, different yes, but fulfilled all the same. Three years ago I would have thought a stoma was the end of the world. Today I am so relieved to have a functioning bowel.
Six years ago I was facing the fact that Rheumatoid Arthritis was causing radical changes to my life, the biggest being saying goodbye to my Executive Management career and the team I led and loved. My company was so fantastic to me throughout the whole medical retirement process which was such a blessing and I remain forever grateful for their support. Today I am medically retired and on a permanent disability pension and my husband is my full-time Carer.
My original plan was a healthy retirement full of travel and volunteering and fulfilling a lifelong goal of writing a book. I may not be able to have such an energetic retirement and my leg break and subsequent bone disease diagnosis has brought the travel idea to an end for the moment but I can thankfully still write and connecting with others through my blog brings me lot’s of joy
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
On average I post twice a month. Sometimes that can be 2 in one week or even 1 a week. I blog when I have something to say. I wait until either an event takes place with my health or a thought is triggered that I think might be helpful for someone else and worthy of a blog post.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Definitely. I find blogging so cathartic. Reading back on my own blog posts from time to time reminds me of how much I’ve gone through and survived and that gives me strength when facing current and future challenges. It is also so rewarding to receive comments from complete strangers who have found something I’ve written has resonated with them or helped them find strength for their own medical battle. That is such a precious thing.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
Often when chronic illness strikes you can feel so alone and overwhelmed. Blogging about chronic illness creates a sense of community, support, and friendship. There is such relief to read of others experiences and find that you are not alone.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Write about your own experiences just as you would tell a friend who really wants to hear. The words will flow and the blog post will be genuinely from the heart and that will ensure it will connect with others
2. Write as soon as you can after an event so you have the story fresh in your mind.
3. Shorter blogs make easy reading but if you have a longer story to tell don’t shy away from writing a “mini book” about a particular incident or health journey. Just let the reader know to make a cuppa and find a comfy chair.